The Odometer: Border War Edition
TULSA, Okla. -- Today we entered Oklahoma. While normally this isn't very exciting news, it was for me because this was my first time entering the Sooner State. Thanks to Going Big I have checked a number of states off my "never been to" list. Michigan, Missouri, Kansas and now Oklahoma are all off the board for me. I'm not sure that i will ever get to 50, I can't really imagine any reason for me to end up in North Dakota, but I guess stranger things have happened.
You all know my feelings on toll roads, and Oklahoma greets you with one as soon as you enter their marvelous state. I'm no public relations expert, but this seems like a bad move if you want to encourage people to visit your state frequently.
In getting to Oklahoma, we drove through southwest Missouri for the final time. One odd thing about Missouri that we noticed is the amount of pecans for sale on the side of the road. As we drove the highway we must have passed a pecan wholesale distributer every 10 miles or so, and in between them every mile there was somebody selling pecans out of the back of their car. Matt and I were perplexed by this so we immediately turned to Wikipedia for help. Wikipedia taught us that pecans grow in every state that borders Missouri, but failed to mention Missouri itself, so this mystery will continue. Either that, or Wikipedia is incorrect. I guess it happens.
Without further delay . . .
Days on the Road for Going Big: 88
Miles Driven in the Grey Ghost: 10,841
States Visited: 17 (Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska). Unless we get blown off course, 17 it will remain.
Points We've Seen Scored on the Field: 750 in 14 games (including one high school game)
Times We Heard "No One" by Alicia Keys: 1 (and that doesn't count the times I've watched the video on YouTube). I think Matt jinxed us by talking about this song in last week's odometer, and "No One" could not be found on the radio this week, and don't think it was for lack of trying.
Related Sidenote: In the car we generally listen to XM radio. Monday morning we hopped in the car only to find our favorite station "UPOP" had been turned into a Christmas music channel until Dec. 26. We are furious! If you're feeling helpful and/or bored, feel free to join us in complaining to XM management.
Incomplete passes thrown by Chase Daniel: 9. Daniel finished a dazzling 40-49 for 361 while absolutely shredding the Kansas D. I'm not sure he ever threw the ball more than 20 yards in the air, but KU was content to give Missouri the underneath stuff, and Missouri and Daniel were content to keep taking and taking and taking.
T-Shirt Of The Week: We are certainly not allowed to show it here. I'm not even sure I'm allowed to describe it. Mind you, this was not the best T-shirt of the week, simply the most noteworthy. Picture a Tiger standing behind a slightly bent over Jayhawk, above the words, "This is Tiger Country." Stay classy, Mizzou.
Sign Of The Week: Lots of Mangino Signs. This was the best of them.
Mangino fat jokes, they work every time
Now on to breaking down Border War/Showdown experience . . .
Tailgating: This was the first night game that I have had the pleasure of attending. The tailgating atmosphere for a 7 p.m. kickoff is very different than a noon start. The biggest reason is that it just gives people a lot more time to enjoy whatever treats they brought in their coolers.
Our hotel was located right across the street from Arrowhead Stadium (good for game day, bad for doing anything else in K.C.), so we got a glimpse of things all afternoon. They didn't let cars enter the parking lot until 3 p.m., but from our window we could see cars lining up and waiting to get in well before that.
Getting every minute of their 4 hours of tailgating
This was the most NFL like tailgating experience we have had so far. For one thing, the game was at an NFL stadium so I guess that's not surprising. But besides all the tailgating occurring in a large parking lot around the stadium, the fans themselves were a lot older. The games that we've been at that have taken place on campus have been dominated by students, but at Arrowhead it seemed that it was mainly alums or people who grew up rooting for either KU or Mizzou.
The other element that separated this game from the others was the tension in the air. There was a lot more hostility and screaming between the KU and Mizzou fans. The sense I got from walking around and talking to people, was that this game wasn't about fun for the fans. This game was the biggest game ever for both of the fan bases and it was taking place between arch rivals. Combine this with a night game, an almost full moon and there was an electricity walking into Arrowhead that far surpassed the other games we've been at.
Student Section/Crowd: There wasn't really a student section at this one. They split the stadium pretty much down the middle with KU having roughly 60/40 advantage as the "home" team. The KU side was amped to begin with, but was taken out of the game pretty quickly by Daniel. Missouri just completed pass after pass, and that had to be demoralizing not just for the Kansas D, but for their fans too.
Band: I think the KU band got demoralized as well.
Traditions: Neither team has much football tradition except for hating each other. They are both having dream seasons, which is what made this game so special.
Game: I was left a little disappointed by the actual game. I thought with these two offenses matching up we had all the makings for a classic with something like 90 or 100 points scored. Unfortunately, Daniels just picked apart the KU defense and the game was never really in doubt. The scoreboard made this one seem a lot closer then it really was.
Overall: Like last week, If the game had been a little better it would have been a night to remember for the rest of my life. While the game wasn't great, it was amazing just to be a part of this. You got the sense from talking to fans on both sides that this was going to be a matchup and a day that they were going to tell their children about. I am thankful I got to be there to be a part of such a special moment for all of these tremendous and loyal fans.